play golf at private courses

7 Ways to Play a Private Golf Course

There are golf courses all over the country that people like you and me can’t play…private courses!!  There are a lot of great courses the average Joe can play, even if they cost and arm and a leg, but others we just don’t have access to unless we buy a membership.  If a golf membership is a little above your pay grade, don’t sweat it, there are ways you can still play these pristine courses.

7 Ways to Play Private Golf Courses

Get a Job!

What you do with your time and money is your business, but if you’re dying to play a private course in your area you can always get a job there.  In my opinion this is the best way to play a private course.  I worked at a private country club as a bartender for 5 years and we were allowed to play every Monday when the course was closed.  It was amazing!

If you’re thinking, well I don’t want to get a job in a restaurant just to play, don’t sweat it.  Country clubs & private courses need all sorts of help.  You can get a job on the grounds crew, in admin or human resources, in health & fitness, marketing, or in the pro shop.  Maybe they’re hiring in an industry related to what you currently work in, or maybe you’re looking for a change.  Either way you’re bound to find something.

If you work full-time and like your job (congrats!) you can get a job at a private course part-time and most likely still enjoy the playing perks.  Food & Beverage banquets are probably the best bet for part time work, along with the pro shop (caddy, starter, cart guy).  Some jobs can even be seasonal.

You’ll want to check to see what the playing perks are, but don’t go into an interview and ask about playing right off the bat. At least pretend you’re interested in the job.

Member for a Day

Private courses around the country will have what they call ‘member for a day’.  This is where you come to the club, check it out, grab a bite to eat and play with a current member.  Basically it’s a way to give the club a test drive and see if you’d be interested in joining.  Even if you’re not, it’s a great way to gain access to a golf course otherwise unavailable.

Credit Cards

You’re probably thinking, what the heck does a credit card have to do with golf or being a member for day?  There are different credit cards out there that get you access to private clubs. It’s a perk or reward for having that particular credit card.

As soon as I heard about a credit card that allowed access to TPC courses I signed up because there’s one in my area that’s private.  (My application is pending, I’ll let you know how it works out.)

Either way, just do a quick Google search for “member for a day Your City” and some options will come up.


A lot of employee outings & charity tournaments take place at private clubs.  I remember when I worked at the country club there were all sort of businesses that held employee days at the courses.  If you can’t convince your boss to spring for a golf tournament, there are charity tournaments that are generally open to the public.  Find a foursome and sign up!  You don’t get the “normal” round you’d typically get, but nevertheless it’s a great way to play a course you can’t get on.

I’m playing in a charity tournament in October that is raising money for cystic fibrosis and it’s at a private course I’ve heard great things about.  Can’t wait!

State Golf Associations

State Golf Associations will have outings to golf courses similar to the member for a day.   You probably have to be a member of your State’s association, but then you  also get the added bonus of an official USGA handicap.  Check with the State you live in and join them next time they have an outing.

Ask Around

I know this will sound a little crazy, but if you simply ask around you’d be amazed at the access you can get.  Just the other I asked my neighbor who I talk golf with, and he mentioned that his friend’s parents live in a prestigious club I’ve always wanted to play.  He reached out to his friend and I got access to the course.  What a deal!

If you don’t have neighbors as cool as mine, don’t worry, there’s other ways to ask.

If you work in a large building, a warehouse, or some other structure that has a break room with a bulletin board, put up a flyer.  Just list a few private courses in the area, ask if anyone is a member, and if they’re looking for a playing partner.  Most people like to show-off and this gives them an opportunity to do just that.  Golfers as a whole are pretty cool too, so they know they have access to something special and they’ll want to share it.

Now it’s kind of ballsy to ask for access, so make sure to offer up something in return.  Offer to pay for the members greens fees that day, or buy them lunch.  Even if they don’t take you up on it, its nice to offer.  They’re going out on a limb for you, don’t be a cheap jackass.

Let me tell you a quick story.  For years my brother worked at a club, and him and the pro shop guys were nice enough to let me play for free, basically whenever I wanted.  One day they said I could invite 3 people to make up a foursome so I thought cool, let me invite some guys I work with.  The four of us left work early one Friday and went to play.  The entire time we were there not one of them offered to buy me anything.  I’m not asking to buy me an overpriced pullover in the pro shop, but a beer; C’mon!

At the turn, me and another guy both went into the snack shack and he didn’t say a word, I couldn’t believe it.  I just saved them $75 and got them access to a private club and crickets!  Guess what though, I never asked them to come out again.  If they would’ve just sprung the seven dollars for a dog and a beer I surely would’ve asked them again.

Moral of the story; don’t be a cheap dick!

Whenever I saw some of the pro shop guys out and about I’d buy them a drink and we’d talk golf. This simple gesture is probably why they kept going out on a limb for me.

Make a Tee Time

Well if I could just make a tee time I wouldn’t need to read this stupid blog post!  Is that what you were thinking?  There’s this website (I haven’t tried it yet) where you can request tee times at private clubs.  Around the time of the recession a lot of private clubs were struggling for revenue, so they opened up their gates at certain days & times.  I don’t know if this is when BoxGroove seized the opportunity but they claim to be able to get you onto to private courses.

Like I said I haven’t tried it yet, but I did some research and there were some positive reviews.  Some people said that you had to have the paid membership to get the premium access, but it’s certainly worth a shot for free.  If you try it, please let me know how it works out.

Private Golf Courses

Golf isn’t always the most inclusive sport, but if you’re addicted like us, you’ll find a way.  You may not want to quit your job or pick up a second one, but there are plenty of ways to play golf at private courses.  Don’t be afraid to get creative or ask around.

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